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Posted By:Curl-upndye on: 7/11/2008 1:48:25 PM

Author: Thread: 2 Years Since Graduating and still no clients
Posts: 7

2 Years Since Graduating and still no clients
Posted: Friday, July 11, 2008 1:48:25 PM
This is my first time posting. I'm at the end of my rope and I feel like I'm headed for a deep depression. I started school a little bit later than most in my mid 20s. I did really well in school in both theory and application. I started working as an assistant in the salon I worked for as a receptionist. I've been on the business side of salons for the past 10 years. I know how to do payroll, ordering, retailing, customer service, etc. So getting my license was the icing on the cake. Well... none of the hairdressers I worked with hardly let me shampoo their clients preferring other assistants. After 6 months someone finally let me apply a toner at the sink. In the meantime I felt like the only thing I was learning was how to sweep and do laundry. So everything I learned in school started to fade. I feel like everything that I was good at and should be getting better at was getting worse. I tried talking to the manager and she assured me to be patient. I knew it was going to be hard the first year so I didn't really question it, but I really started to hate being an assistant. Frankly, it was the worst job I've ever had in my life. I was no more than a cleaning lady. Then my manager started commuting out of state and spent less and less time at the salon. After about a year, I had my own station but very few clients. She hired 2 more people without clients assuring me that I was there first so I would have priority of new clients. At my 2nd year there they have more clients than me and I can count how many repeat clients I have on 1 hand. I maybe get 1 new client every 3 weeks or so. I feel like my haircuts are not improving at all cause all I do is one length haircuts on little kids. (Don't even get me started on doing kids!) Now whenever my manager is in town I feel like I'm judged for not having clients. I had offered a while ago to work part-time at a budget chain salon to gain experience but she told me not to because I would learn only bad habits there. I'm still on a small hourly cause I would be making only half as much if I were on commission. With my salon management skills, I could be making alot more money doing that but it's not what I really want to do. I feel like I've lost all enthusiasm for doing hair. I hate going into work now. I call in sick more. I hate everyone looking at me while I'm doing nothing for 6 out of 8 hours a day. I'm never recommended by my coworkers to do a client when they aren't able to, which I think may be partly prejudiced because I'm the only white person there. I am working on a resume and I am planning on looking for other places to work, but after all this wasted time I feel like I have no real experience to offer, no clients to bring with me. I feel like I need to relearn everything from scratch and I can't afford to spend time as an assistant all over again. I do have to eat and pay my bills after all.

Posts: 60

Curl upndye
Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2008 10:40:22 PM

I'm so sorry for the experience you are living.  I think you should apply at other salons where you would be supported and where they would offer education.  It seems they are still viewing you as the receptionist and all around grunt.  If the salon doesn't have the walk in traffic to allow you to build a clientel you need to find a place that does.

Good Luck

Posts: 1174
Platinum Member

Lead your own way
Posted: Monday, July 14, 2008 8:32:39 AM
First of all, you've been giving all your important career decisions over to other people! Secondly, your negative attitude is overwhelming your day to day habits, and drawing negative energies to you.

I would start by fielding your options in a salon that is more upscale in your area as a personal stylist. You can even post your resume at your local craigslist. This decision wil make you thousands of more dollars than if you were to try a new job as a stylist right now...

Your craft needs to be honed. There are only so many books to read before you need to get hands on and you weren't given a proper chance to flower in this area. Start in one area, such as blowouts, master it, then move on to the next level. If you are in a children's salon (not sure) GET OUT. You aren't getting the positive energy you get from interacting with adults we all need.

Change your attitude. Pick up "The Secret" video. It is by far a great first step towards changing your attitude, is easy to understand, and IT WORKS.

Stop putting all your power into other people's hands. This is something we need to learn and ultimately is the only way to self improvement and our own true happiness. You won't shine until you do.

I believe it is one or two really negative occurences that have overwhelmed you and are holding you back from your true potential by feeding into your day to day thought. You can undo this by thinking positive thoughts and finding the proper, nurturing place for you to grow. Money comes second to this, and you're not working in the right place right now.

When I started out in 1991 as an assistant, I too was changing lightbulbs, cleaning toilets, and doing ordering in the one of the finest salons in Boston because I was afraid to make mistakes. After 2 years, they were still unsure of putting me on the floor as a stylist because my focus and attitude was all wrong for one. I left that salon and all the investment I put into it and had to start over.

However, when you start over, you start with a clean slate.

I've had managers say I was tacky-

But I've corrected blowouts and colors that have come out of some of the finest salons by master stylists in NYC. I am a master of haircolor now, I can peg the right color after only a few questions and have had an amazing career meeting celebrities and doing all sorts of AMAZING things I never begun to IMAGINE I could do. I've also been broke, out of work, and in debt, but it's NEVER held me back from getting what I want.

I still do terrible updos because I had a teacher rip one out of my manniquin at school and tell me it was all wrong. I still hold that memory but have learned how to work around it to achieve happiness in OTHER areas.

And so can you.

Life is like an amazing book to live, but you have to get comfortable and enjoy your own skin, quickly catch yourself when thinking something negative, and always remember YOU are the one that writes the storyline.

Posts: 142
Bronze Member

Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 9:24:36 PM

I feel for you. I remember my experience as an assistant it sounded very much like yours.  Eventually i went to a chain salon and i also spent alot of money on educational classes; cutting, color etc.. I think looking for a job at a chain salon might be a good idea for you only because they are busy and you can gain alot of experience that way, you can always move on to a better salon. Also invest in education that will help build your confidence.



Posts: 102
Bronze Member

Posted: Friday, July 18, 2008 1:13:41 PM

I co-sign with my fellow stylists.  There are so many avenues to upgrade yourself  today and the internet should be your main focus.  Design a page (i.e. myspace) that briefly describes who you are and what you do.  When and if you can frequent trade/hair shows.  Buy dvds on cutting, coloring and any other service that interests you. As for me, I'm heavily into weaves, and lace front wigs. I also buy cutting and coloring dvds as well.  Sit in on a couple of demonstrations and speak with the platform artists to get more information. 

Break out your mannekin and get it cracking.  Most of all have confidence in yourself.  Believe in yourself and your ability. You've spent so much money and time investing in something that you love to do. Make it happen. Don't let it all go in vain. 

I've been there when I first started.  I was 21 when I got licensed and worked as a shampoo girl and was treated badly by a stylist who felt threatened. I don't know why, because I was always nervous didn't know how to do a lot of stuff.  I started there when I was on the senior floor.  I left after a couple of months and found another salon to work in with an older lady in her mid-late 50's who was very nice and caring; willing to work with me and showed me how to do a lot of things.  I also worked with another lady who was about 10 years older than me at the time that worked with me and would show me how to do things whenever I was in a jam.

In the beginning I was very discouraged. Even in school because to me it seemed like the other girls could grasp how to do styles faster than me and I began to doubt myself, but I knew in my heart that this is what I wanted to do.  Late at night I would break out my mannekin and practice until I got it right and when I did I'd go to school the next day with a big ol smile on my face.

I really got into the groove of styling when I worked @ the JC Penney Salon, which btw I was hired yesterday to come back,

I just want you to know that everything comes with time.  Be encourged.  Visit company websites such as L'oreal, Sebastian, Paul Mitchell, CHI, or whatever product line you like the best and ask if they have dvds available.  Thats what I did, and still do. I go to the hair shows when they come to town exp: The Northeast Beauty Show which comes to the meadowlands in Secaucus, NJ or the IBS @ the Jacob Javits or when I have extra loot I go to the Bronner Bros. hair show in Atlanta, GA, I frequent Sally's to see if I can get some promotional freebies as well as my community distributor to see if I can get stuff that was returned at a cheaper price or now they know me so well when I come in whatever they have left that they need to get rid of, they'll just give it to me. 

Network, sweetie. Network hard.  Start a portfolio of your work. Whether if the style is on a mannekin or a client take pictures of your work.  Get yourself out there.  You have to in order to succeed in this business. 

Join the club.  I was the coffee maker, store runner, hair/weave buyer, floor sweeper, sidewalk sweeper, dandruff scratcher LOL...And only got paid $30 a day and only worked on Saturdays!! I believe thats the initiation into the business.  Now I say if they can see now. I've come a long way baby and guess what YOU WILL TOO!!!

Keep me posted.


Posts: 142
Bronze Member

Posted: Friday, July 18, 2008 5:57:26 PM

xxhairdivaxx I couldn't have said it better myself.



Posts: 102
Bronze Member

Posted: Friday, July 18, 2008 6:35:09 PM


I know in the beginning of this wonderful industry it was hard for most of us and 90% of it comes from self doubt and then discouragement sets in.  Every once in a blue moon I visit the cosmetology school I graduated from and speak with the instructors to find out which student is having a hard time and I speak with them one on one to give them encouragement and boost their self confidence.

Thanx for your co-sign, shorthairedgirl.

Posts: 11

Don't listen to the others stay at the salon.
Posted: Friday, August 08, 2008 1:03:42 AM

With my experience I would have to tell you to stay and make it work. If you go to another salon the same issues will happen because you sucess is 90% you and how you get refferals. Here are some questions Ihave to ask:

1. are you asking for refferals?

2. are you giving the clients, you are getting, your best and asking them for refferals?

3.Are you doing anything to build your business? Hand out cards lately? Go to any classes to help techinues? See some one at the grocery that you just wanted to do her hair? Did you ask her to visit you? Do you give a discount to get people to try you out?Ask for refferals?

This is coming from some one who went completely boothrent after cosmetology school and within 6 months had a full book and a waitlist of 1 month for clients wanting to get in for the 1st time. it can be done by anyone and anywhere charging anything.

"the only person that can be blamed for YOUR failure is YOUSELF!"

sorry to sound harsh but it's the truth!

and no I do not know this person and have never met them.

Posts: 7

Posted: Friday, August 08, 2008 10:17:45 AM

Thanks for the response everyone.  I'm hanging in there, got my resume together and started looking for other salons.  I haven't quit this job yet though.

In response to newtrend:

1.  I always ask for referals from my clients.  I even give a discount as a thank you to the ones who bring in a friend to see me.

2.  I give each client I get 110%.  They have my undivided attention.  Before I even get started with the consulation I offer them something to drink and make sure they are comfortable.  We don't do anything until we've had at least a 10 minute consulation and agree on what we're going to do.  We discuss home care products.  Before they leave I usually hand them at least 3 business cards with my schedule on them.  I attend every class and show I can.  I have been to 3 this year and I have another one coming up.

3.  Yes I do try to drum up business myself.  The other day I got into a conversation with someone on the street who stopped me to support her political organization.  I made a donation and she came in for a haircut the next day.  I do my best on my own.

I feel I am doing all I can on my end to keep the client coming back.  I asked some more experienced stylists I know what they thought.  All of them said to me the management should not be hiring so many people at the same time without clients.  I even recently heard she plans to hire more people, with or without a clientel.  The shop doesn't advertise or run any specials ever.  This is what happens when the management is absentee and on auto-pilot. 

You did well out of school.  I'm happy someone has and that gives me hope.  I'm doing anything different than you though and I'm in a commission based salon. There is a management and reception desk that should remember if we, the stylists, fail they don't have a job either.  Management does play a huge part in keeping clients coming too.  I know because I worked as a receptionist and a manager for years before beauty school.  I know clients who have left a salon in disgust because of bad management.  I stayed at this place after beauty school because they told me how much they wanted me there and wanted me to be their home-grown stylist.  Their total inaction and poor hiring decisions have not demonstrated that statement to be true.  I gave it 2 full years with alot of patience, faith and effort.  It didn't work out, it's time to move on, my conscience clear I did my part.     

Posts: 1

hope is on the way
Posted: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 10:20:26 AM

I have found that if I'm not being pushed into being the best stylist i can be then i am bored. go out and find something new. you can take your 5 clients with you. be bold, be brave, be yourself and dont take crap from anyone. If they aren't supportive of you then it is time to move on. This is your life not theirs be the rock star you were meant to be!! and go for it!!

Posts: 5

Posted: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 10:12:24 AM
Sounds like a move might be your best option. Many salon's simply wont take notice of your credentials and simply not offer the traffic and cliente that you are looking to attract. Get out and network and find other salons that better fit your needs

Posts: 1

How to survive in the industry
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 12:41:50 PM
The first thing that you need to know is it is a dog eat dog world and everything you learn in hair school is just the basics and if you want to master your art your gonna need to go to as many trade shows and visit with as many old school hair dressers as you can. Don't be afraid to ask questions and if you have a job that just is not working out then this is what you do . Do your homework and Google some of the areas local salons to get a feel for their atmosphere,then apply and once your in don't be anyone's assistant work independently in a booth like at a Great Clips. Build your clientelle by posting on Facebook and Craigslist. Tell any and everyone you know about yourself and even in a coffee shop your gonna find someone willing to give you a chance. Ask to photo the before and after shots of their hair,lastly have some confidence because Lord knows if your good at what your doing then you don't need to work under anyone else who has the same degree to do what you already do. You can make your career happen but what you cannot do is play second best to anyone, Hope this helps.